A half-day excursion available exclusively to guests of The George.
We partner with Christchurch Helicopters and the Department of Conservation to sponsor Flight Path – a fundraising program that supports the critically-endangered orange-fronted Kakariki – a small, native parrot.
Release Flight Experience
This full-day experience includes an exclusive seat on a return flight with Christchurch Helicopters from Christchurch into Arthur’s Pass to one of three valleys to release one of these treasured birds into the forest as part of the orange-fronted Kakariki Flight Path program.
Conservation Experience - Half Day
Your experience begins before dawn with the sights, sounds and smells of the forest as it pulses with native flora and fauna, not found anywhere else in the world. New Zealanders are proud and protective of our environment. And, one extraordinary, endangered bird, only found here in Canterbury is the orange-fronted parakeet or Kakariki, with its unmistakable, vibrant plumage, is the focus of this experience
You are delivered from The George by private chauffeur to meet your guide, Lyndon, at Christchurch Helicopters. Lyndon is an Endangered Species Ranger from the Department of Conservation and known in these parts as a bit of a ‘Kiwi’ Steve Irwin.
After lift-off, you will immediately take in the extensive vista of the farmland of the Canterbury Plains. Your view is only interrupted by the region’s famous braided rivers flowing from the foothills as you continue west toward the mighty Southern Alps.
Get into ‘Ranger-mode’ and check and re-bait traps, spot Kakariki and other native animals in the wild. Take in unparalleled 360-degree views while you enjoy a picnic lunch, especially prepared for you by the cuisine team at The George. Over lunch, Lyndon will talk about the ‘little Canterbury battler’ and the extensive conservation work undertaken to help it survive and thrive.
Release Flight Experience - Full Day
Only available by special arrangement; we have available the ultimate in immersive travel with the Release Flight Experience.
A seat on a return flight with Christchurch Helicopters from Christchurch into Arthur’s Pass. Journey to one of three valleys to release one of these treasured birds into the forest as part of the orange-fronted Kakariki Flight Path programme. There are a limited number of opportunities to enjoy this bucket list experience each year for visitors to Christchurch and exclusively with The George.
This full-day experience includes everything on the Conservation Experience and more.
1. Kakariki is a small species, but incredibly beautiful at approximately 22cm high and weighing around 50g. Once widespread they are now only found in the Poulter, Hawden and South Branch Hurunui valleys in Arthurs Pass. Why is this such a special bird? It lives on a knife-edge! Twice thought to be extinct their numbers in the wild are now dangerously low, estimated at fewer than 300, which makes it one of the rarest birds in New Zealand (in fact, rarer than takah? and kakapo).
2. This experience has only been available since July 2019 and is only available to guests of The George and cannot be offered by any other hotel in Christchurch/Canterbury.
3. Funds Raised by The George - $5,000 in contribution direct from The George each year and a portion of all conservation and release flight fares goes back to the Flight Path Trust. Additional donations from the philanthropically minded guest can be made to the Flight Path cause through The George, or direct to Flight Path.
4. The Department of Conservation uses a variety of innovative pest control methods including self-setting traps and motion sensor traps, increased genetic work (to optimise pairings) and purpose-built breeding aviaries in situ in the forest to reduce the risk and cost of translocations. Despite this, the landscape we are collectively working in is vast and often inaccessible, except by helicopter.
5.There are captive breeding programmes at Issac Conservation and Wildlife Trust and Orana Park in Christchurch as well as at Auckland ZOO and Pakaha in the Wairarapa. Birds bred in these sites are released back into the wild as part of the recovery program supported by funds raised through Flight Path.
Contact us to make a booking
Special thanks to:
Department of Conservation
Features & Highlights
- Picnic Lunch
- Private Chauffeurs
- Private guide
- Only available by special arrangement
- Experience Christchurch Helicopters
- Discover NZ's natural environment